Holidaying in The National Parks - Sri Lanka
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Holidaying in The National Parks of Sri Lanka

“One of Asia’s Top Wildlife Destinations”

Travelling into the jungles with camps deep within the National Parks is an undiscovered treasure in Sri Lanka on the world wildlife map.

Unlike many of the parks in India and Africa, Sri Lanka’s are not commercial; the character of yesteryear remains intact thanks to the deferred start into the tourism arena. Sri Lanka has an amazing variety of fauna and flora, with some of the world’s highest densities of leopards and elephants. A visit to the Sri Lankan jungles is to enter a whole new world where nature has hardly stood still.

Described as “one of Asia’s top wildlife destinations”, a new development in safaris is luxury-tented camps taking you overnight into the heart of the National Parks. The uniqueness of such camps is the complete ‘away from it all feeling’; with amazing water front sites, cool breezes and animal sightings.

There are several National Parks, of these the best known is the Ruhunu (Yala) National Park in the deep south of the island. The other parks are Gal Oya, Udawalawe, Wasgomuwa, Minneriya, Wilpattu and Horton Plains. The topography and vegetation change from park to park, even the fauna and flora. Most common in the parks are elephants and birdlife.

Safari Camping in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for wildlife safari and camping lovers. Although small, Sri Lanka has many wildlife locations suitable for camping and safari. Sri Lanka’s game reserves are full of surprises which can be experienced only by simply “living” there.

“Experiences of a lifetime” come in an assortment of tours, from one day safaris to multi-day campin safari tours. There is a wide range of related options connected to camping such as observing or studying fauna or flora in various types of forests, bird or butterfly watching, or even observing and interacting with the indigenous people (Veddha’s) of Sri Lanka.

Bird Watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s abundant birdlife makes the island a true ornithologists paradise. Of the 427 recorded species, 250 are resident and 33 are endemic to the country. With such as variety of environments ranging from wet to dry zone, forest to jungle, and hill country to lowlands, there is no end to the fascinating locations in which to spot many of these beautiful birds. Most of the endemic birds (such as the Sri Lankan grackle) are restricted to the wet zone, while birds such as the whistling thrush and the yellow-eared bulbul reside in the hill country. Others, like the brilliantly plumaged jungle fowl, the striking red-faced malkoha and the shy brown-capped babbler can be found in forests and sanctuaries throughout the island. Among the best areas for sighting these birds are the Sinharaja Rainforest and Adam’s Peak Wilderness sanctuary.

The large lakes (irrigation reservoirs) in the dry zone attract numerous varieties of duck, while larger aquatic birds such as stork, heron, egret, spoonbill, pelican, and ibis can easily be seen in the wetlands, especially at Weerawila, Kalametiya and Bundala National Park (which is also famed for its large flocks of migrant flamingos). Around mid-August the first migratory species arrive in Sri Lanka. Large flocks of sandpipers, stints, plovers, terns and harriers fly over from northern India, Siberia, Scandinavia and western Europe and settle among the lagoons and salterns of the eastern, north-western and south-eastern coasts. In the forested areas of Sri Lanka, birds like migratory tree warblers, thrushes and cuckoos can be seen.

Read more in A Guide to the National Parks of Sri Lanka and Eco-Tourism in Sri Lanka.